A local soccer club, with players from Rainier, Yelm, Lacey and Olympia, among other locales won the prestigious Sounders FC Cup in Tukwila, which ran July 16-18.
TC United 2009, or the Thurston County United soccer club team for those born in 2009, took home the top prize in its division.
“The Sounders FC Cup is a very big tournament where teams come from all over to compete against each other,” said the team’s coach Brandon Carlson. “It is played at the Seattle Sounders FC training complex in Tukwila. We were placed in the highest competitive division.”
Coach Marco Villa said Rainier athlete Evan Delaney, 12, was a stand-out on defense for the tournament.
“He is one of our top defenders on the right side,” Villa said. “He’s one of our really tough defenders. He’s really ferocious. He’s on-point with defense. He really gives us outstanding play on the backfield.”
Round-robin style, the tournament saw six other teams play three games a piece. The two teams with the most points played in the championship game.
TC United 2009’s first game saw the defeat of the Irish Lions 6-0. For the second game, the boys beat Titans FC Puyallup 4-0. When the third game came around, the team won 3-0 against Mount Rainier Football Club.
“We achieved maximum points to qualify us for the championship game against Whatcom TC Rangers, where we defeated them 4-2,” Carlson said.
Goalie Olyn Abbey, 12, posted three shutouts and had zero goals conceded against him in the first three games.
Marco Villa Jr., 12, contributed the most assists with five.
Marek Carlson, 12, was the leading goal-scorer with seven goals, including a hat trick in the championship game.
“It’s our first year playing 11 a side, which means 11 versus 11,” Villa said. “Before that, we were playing nine versus nine. So we have three new players in our team. They’re still learning. They are a great, great addition to our team, though. I mean, they’re really good, outstanding players.”
He said the team still has work to do if it wants to continue its success.
“As far as chemistry, you know, we have a really good chemistry,” Villa said. “But like I said, with the new players, sometimes it’s a little work. It takes a little time. So everybody gets to know everybody and how they play.”
Villa and Carlson have turned this pursuit into a theme for the team.
“That’s our biggest focus: to make sure everybody understands everybody and knows their plays, what they’re capable of doing, where they need help,” Villa said. “And as long as we get to that point and have our kids understand what they need to do, and what type of help their other teammates need, then we’ll be in good shape.”
Overall, Villa said he couldn’t be happier with the boys’ performance in the tournament.
“Coach Brandon and I are very, very proud of these kids (and) how they did in this tournament,” he said, adding they didn’t expect such a successful outcome.
He said the effort each player put in throughout the games “was awesome.”
“Honestly, I was delightfully surprised about their performance on the field,” Villa said.